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Activity 1 Inquiries

ABOUT INQUIRIES

Under the IGIS Act, the Inspector-General can conduct an inquiry on the basis of a complaint, on the IGIS's own motion, or in response to a ministerial request. In respect of inquiries the Act provides certain immunities and protections. It also allows the Inspector-General to use strong coercive powers including to compel the production of information and documents, to enter premises occupied or used by a Commonwealth agency, to require the attendance of persons to answer questions relevant to the matter under inquiry, to administer an oath or affirmation and examine the person on that oath or affirmation.

The IGIS Act protects persons who have given information under compulsion from any penalty under Commonwealth or Territory law that would ordinarily arise from disclosing that information. The responsible Minister is advised when the Inspector-General begins an inquiry into an agency and is also advised of any conclusions or recommendations arising from the inquiry. The Inspector-General also provides opportunities for Ministers, agency heads and affected individuals to comment during the course of an inquiry.

PERFORMANCE SUMMARY

Conducting inquiries as appropriate (which may be '"own motion", in response to complaints or referrals, or at the request of intelligence agency Ministers or the Prime Minister).

Performance criteria: timeliness of completion of inquiries; level of acceptance by intelligence agencies of findings and recommendations of inquiries conducted.

Targets: 100% of inquiry recommendations accepted; 100% of inquiry recommendations implemented.

Other activity measures: Number of inquiries conducted; duration of each inquiry completed.

Source: Portfolio Budget Statements 2017-18, p. 257; IGIS Corporate Plan 2017-2021, p. 5.

QUANTITATIVE PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

Figure 2.2: Performance indicators – conducting inquiries

Subject of Inquiry
DIO Analytic Independence
ASD Matter 2017
ASD Matter 2018
ASIO matter
Agency
DIO
ASD
ASD
ASIO
Source
IGIS own motion
IGIS own motion
Requested by the Minister for Defence
IGIS own motion
Date initiated
14 November 2016
2 February 2017
30 May 2018
14 February 2018
Date finalised
8 September 2017
14 July 2017
Open
Open
Duration (days)
299 days
163 days
N/A
N/A
Number of recommendations
2
5
N/A
N/A
Percentage of recommendations accepted
100%
100%
N/A
N/A
Percentage of recommendations fully implemented
0%
60%
N/A
N/A

Figure 2.3: Number of inquiries concluded by year

number of inquiries concluded: 1 in 2015-2016, 1 in 2016-17 and 2 in 2017-18

INQUIRIES CONDUCTED DURING 2017-18

During the 2017-18 reporting period two inquiries were concluded. One inquiry had a duration of 299 days and the other 163 days. These durations were considered reasonable taking into account IGIS staffing levels. Two inquiries were in progress at the end of the reporting period. A short summary of these four inquires is provided below.

No inquiries were conducted pursuant to sections 8(1)(d) and 8(3)(c) respectively of the IGIS Act.

INQUIRY INTO THE ANALYTIC INDEPENDENCE AND INTEGRITY OF THE DEFENCE INTELLIGENCE ORGANISATION

In September 2017 we completed the third inquiry into the analytic independence and integrity of the DIO. This was a routine inquiry, not prompted by any particular concern. The inquiry did not find any evidence of interference with the independence of DIO assessments. Generally the analytic integrity of the DIO process for producing reports is sound, although some areas for continuing improvement were highlighted in the inquiry. The inquiry made two recommendations relating to analytic tradecraft policy and record keeping and several suggestions for improvement, which DIO accepted. Although the full report is classified, a more detailed unclassified summary of this inquiry can be found on the IGIS website www.igis.gov.au/publications-reports/public-reports.

On 9 March 2018 DIO reported on its progress in implementing the two recommendations and in June 2018 the office sought a further update. Although progress in implementing recommendation one was initially slow, DIO has developed a new draft policy and we are satisfied that it will address the recommendation once complete. In relation to recommendation two, DIO was incorrectly advised that this had been addressed earlier but in July became aware that a required technical change had not been implemented. DIO undertook to address this, and we are satisfied that the recommendation will be implemented once this occurs.

INQUIRY INTO AN AUSTRALIAN SIGNALS DIRECTORATE MATTER 2017

In July 2017 this office completed an inquiry into an ASD matter pursuant to section 8(2) of the IGIS Act. Although this matter was finalised in the current reporting period, a summary of the findings and outcomes were discussed in the 2016-17 Annual Report. The report included five (classified) recommendations designed to ensure that the situation would not arise in the future and to streamline communications with Ministers and with the Inspector-General. ASD accepted all the recommendations and reported its progress on their implementation in December 2017, and subsequently in June 2018. We reviewed ASD's advice and consider that ASD has sufficiently implemented three of the five recommendations and we are satisfied with the progress on the remaining two.

Soon after the end of the reporting period ASD finalised implementation of the final two recommendations.

INQUIRY INTO AN AUSTRALIAN SIGNALS DIRECTORATE MATTER 2018

On 30 May 2018 this office commenced an inquiry into ASD to examine the circumstances surrounding reported breaches of section 7 of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (TIA Act), including the timeliness and adequacy of reporting by ASD to this office and to the Minister for Defence. The inquiry is ongoing and further details will be provided in the next annual report.

INQUIRY INTO AN AUSTRALIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE ORGANISATION MATTER

In February 2018 this office commenced an inquiry into an ASIO matter pursuant to section 8(2) of the IGIS Act. The inquiry will examine the conduct and details around a multi-faceted, multi-agency foreign intelligence collection operation led by ASIO in 2017. The inquiry is ongoing and further details will be provided in the next annual report.

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